Andrei Vasilevskiy earns 11th straight win over Canadiens
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves to beat Montreal for the 11th straight, Brayden Point had two goals and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday night.
Vasilevskiy is the third goaltender in NHL history to win 11 consecutive regular season games against Montreal. Ottawa’s Alec Connell (February 28, 1925 – February 22, 1927) and Toronto’s Turk Broda (December 9, 1939 – January 23, 1941) both had 12-game hitting streaks.
“He’s a great goaltender,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said. “At the end of the day, he’s a difference maker for us, especially proving it against this team we played tonight. Eleven straight is pretty impressive. First guy in 80 years, none of us have been around that long.”
Vasilevskiy is 14-1-2 overall in games against the Canadiens.
Point has 13 goals in his last 13 games. The center has a goal in six straight home games, one shy of tying Nikita Kucherov’s franchise record.
Alex Killorn and Brandon Hagel also scored for Tampa Bay. Kucherov had one assist and leads the NHL with 37.
Jake Allen stopped 33 shots, and Kaiden Guhle scored with 2:39 left in the game for the Canadiens, who have lost six of seven (1-5-1).
Montreal played five rookie defensemen in a game for the first time in team history. The last NHL team to do so was the Philadelphia Flyers on April 5, 2007.
Montreal’s NHL-worst power forward went 0 for 5. The Canadiens have converted two chances in 37 attempts over the last 11 games.
“It’s pretty embarrassing,” Canadiens center Nick Suzuki said.
Tampa Bay scored on its only man-advantage opportunity. Montreal had given up four shorthanded goals over the past three games.
“We’re losing that fight right now,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “Of course special teams. It’s hurting our team’s success right now.”
Point made it 3-0 in the 16th minute of the second when he skated in from the neutral zone and made some great moves to evade four defenders before scoring from the low area.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper was impressed with Point’s determination.
“His will to succeed,” Cooper said. “Difference makers do things like that, and that’s what he did.”
Vasilevskiy turned aside Cole Caufield’s putback from close range in the second. Caufield also hit the post in the period.
Killorn and Point, off a pass from Kucherov, had the goals of the first period.
Kucherov reached 50 points in 33 games with the assist, tying Vincent Lecavalier (2007-08) for the fewest games to reach the mark in team history.
Hagel scored in the third.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was three away from becoming the 47th NHL player to reach 500 goals. He has gone five games in a row without scoring.
Hedman had two assists and finished plus-3. His new defensive partner Zach Bogosian got his first point in 19 games with an assist and was also a plus-3. … Vasilevskiy has played 71 games without a regular-season shutout, dating back to Nov. 26, 2021, against Seattle.
Canadiens: RW Brendan Gallagher (lower body) participated in the morning skate. … C Sean Monahan (upper body) has resumed skating. … LW Paul Byron (hip) has had some improvement over the past two weeks but is still not skating.
Canadiens: Play Thursday at Florida.
Lightning: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday.
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